Ohio health insurance availability has taken another major hit with the exit of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Premier. Suddenly, the Buckeye State, in many counties, will no longer offer a plentiful number of medical plan options through the subsidized Marketplace. Previously, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, and Humana announced they will not offer private individual or family plans through the Exchanges. More than 10,000 persons in 18 counties no longer have any participating carriers offering Marketplace coverage. Rate volatility and unpredictable company choices are continuing concerns.
However, Senior Medigap contracts, including Advantage, Supplement, and Part D prescription drug plans remain unaffected. Other ancillary products will continue to be offered, including dental, vision, life, critical-illness, and short-term plans. Group coverage offered by small and large businesses will also not be impacted by the erosion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Grandfathered and grandmothered plans are also not affected. Short-term health insurance plans continue to be available, although they are not compliant with current legislation, and do not cover pre-existing conditions.
Current policyholders will be receiving an email detailing the effective date of termination (December 31), and verification that their current coverage is compliant with ACA guidelines. “Continual changes” and lack of predictability” were reasons cited by Anthem for their exit. Wisconsin and Indiana are two additional states that Anthem will either leave or only offer coverage in limited areas.
Although Anthem’s Ohio rates have not been especially competitive the last few years, 2017 coverage is offered in every county, and they are one of the few carriers that offer HSA plans through the federal Exchange. Popular plan options available that will not be offered in 2018 include Bronze Pathway PPO 5150, Bronze Pathway PPO 0% For HSA, Bronze Pathway HMO 5000, Silver Pathway PPO 2000, and Silver Pathway PPO 3000.
Dayton-based Premier Health Plan serves areas of Southwestern Ohio with individual, family, Senior, and Group coverage. Rates have been most competitive in Warren, Montgomery, and Greene Counties. An additional six counties are in the service area. However, after featuring extremely competitive rates in 2016, Premier substantially raised premiums for 2017 effective dates, and still has been struggling in the Under-65 market. Although customer satisfaction has been high, competition from other carriers kept Premier from sustaining significant growth.
Policies no longer available for 2018 include Health One Bronze 7150, Health One Bronze 6550, Health One Bronze 6250, Health One Bronze 6500, Health One Silver 5000, Health One Silver 4750, Health One Silver 4500, Health One Silver 3250, Health One Silver 3000, and Health One Gold 1750. Current customers can retain their existing policies through December 31st.
Future Healthcare Legislation
The current Administration, is attempting to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), with new legislation that could possibly reduce health insurance costs, and offer more customized low-cost plans. With less than three weeks left until a summer recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell needs further compromises to pass a partisan bill.